Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fantastic Adventure #2: Dell rebound comics

I picked up this Australian comic on the weekend more out of curiosity than anything else.

It’s a ‘new’ cover with rebound coverless US Dell comics from 1965 and 1966. The rear cover carries a full-page advertisement (111 Stamps for 10c).

Apart from this advertisement and the 20c cover price, there is nothing else to even identify this edition as an Australian publication. Indeed there is no information regarding publisher or distributor on the comic at all – the inner front and back covers are completely blank! I think the only other time I’ve seen such blank pages is on Yaffa reprints, or on the card covers of squarebound Federal comics!

I’m familiar of course with the rebound K.G. Murray comics which I’ve referred to often on this blog. I’m also generally familiar with the UK series of coverless rebound US comics titled Double Double (I have a Detective Comics copy somewhere in the junkyard which I might pull out at some point, and an Action Comics copy was mentioned to me in recent correspondence).

It’s possible this edition (and other similar ones eg. Amazing Adventure, Daring Adventure to name just two) was collated by the distributor for resale and distributed via the original point of sale, hence the lack of publisher details – that is, it was not strictly speaking legal.

Then I wonder where the cover illustrations come from – original Dell comics?

More questions and guesswork than answers today. There’s a broader publishing/distribution story to be told here. Maybe someone else can fill in the blanks.

Oh, and for the record, the rebound Dell comics are:

Kona #18, June 1966

Tomb of Ligeia, April-June 1965
Two on a Guillotine, April-June 1965

1 comment:

mcannon said...

Interesting, Spiros. I have one of these myself - and have seen another couple. However, all the issues I've seen have been rebound Gold Key comics, such as "Space Family Robinson", "MARS Patrol" and "Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery" rather than Dell. Okay, I know that GK sort of grew out from Dell (when Western Publishing decided to issue its own comics), but by the mid 1960s, they were very much seperate entities.

(BTW, when I was a kid Dell seemed a particularly lame little company, with a handful of very, very ordinary comics. I was amazed when, many years later, I learned what a powerhouse it had been in comics publishing up until the early 1960s)

I've always asumed that these compilations were produced locally, with the local distributor simply rebinding unsold issues. I don't think the idea lasted very long - as I mentioned, I've only seen a handful of issues, and the contents of the ones I've seen all date from around 1966 or so.

Just as with KG Murray's "Mammoth" and "Gigantic", the contents of the compilations could vary from copy to copy.